The rights of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBTI) people are suppressed in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s British-era laws criminalised consensual same-sex relationships under Section 377 of the Penal Code, where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. This is exacerbated by Sharia law, where the sexual activity of any nature outside a heterosexual marriage is prohibited.
Same-sex marriage and unions are also not legally recognised. Bangladesh authorities often use the Penal Code to harass and persecute LBTI people including by refusing them permission to register thematic organisations.
In 2014, the Bangladesh government approved ‘hijra sex’ as the third gender. However, this decision does not include transgender men or transgender women who don’t identify as hijra. Intersex people do not have any legal mechanism to access their rights.
The last State party report was submitted in 2010 and contained no LBTI specific information. The Committee, then, did a follow up on the state party report in 2020, but this has not yet been submitted.
The CEDAW Committee provided no SOGIESC-focused observations at the 65th Session to Bangladesh. The List of Issues also did not ask any pertinent questions related to LBTI people.
The Committee provided other recommendations that may be applied to LBTI people which included an observation where women and girls from vulnerable groups have access to basic services, including education, employment, and health care, without discrimination, and have a right to be free from domestic violence and trafficking.